Tag Archives: world

On sovereignty:

Sovereignty is defined as absolute or supreme power (of self-direction). It’s used contemporarily as a state’s ability to self-determine. Recently there has been a push in the north of Spain (Catalonia region) for sovereignty, a push that have been called illegal by Spain, and most EU countries have said they will not recognize an independent Catalonia. It begs the question: What should the criteria be for self-determination of a “people” or county? Currently it’s clearly might makes right, in essence only groups that can martial the economic and martial forces to cast off others are “sovereign nations”, but is that ideal?

Why would a people saying they have a right to self-determination prompt a large show of force and condemnation form the most liberal, pro-democracy part of the world? Like most things it mostly boils down to who gets what… Currently the region is a major economic powerhouse, and Spain is the 3rd largest economy in the EU; losing that would be a major hit to Spain, and may even compromise the finical solvency of the country, so it’s seen as self-preservation. For the other countries, most have regions themselves that like Catalonia are economically strong and stand to gain from secession. None want a precedent set.

So leadership, by and large wants to keep countries big and people (by and large) want self-determination… Historically disagreements between the two have resulted in horrific, bloody affairs (Think Kosovo). What is the ideal?

I think the answer is contingent on the answer to a basic question, are we our brother’s keeper? I’ve address that one here, but setting those thoughts on the matter aside; if we are our brother’s keeper than there is really no sovereignty – he is beholden to us, and conversely, we to him. The most basic interpretation of sovereignty is “I’ll do what I like, you have no say”. It is truly as anti-social as ideas come, that one (individual or nation or anything in between) is not beholden to anything else, and free to act as it sees fit. Looking at sovereignty in this matter there is a basic truth to it; as individuals we are free at all times to do as we like; at least for now if I wish to start tossing out haymakers in the market I very well can but that kind of freedom is as dangerous as it is natural. The ideal is likely the same for individuals as it is for nations, humanity at large is not served by my market punches nor would it be served by the national equivalent (war). The other extreme is as (if not more) frightening- not having that freedom…

Imagine that each though we had, as we had it was evaluated by a 3rd party. If that system also had the ability to alter or arrest such thoughts, it could be used to ensure all actions by all people met a standard. But would the people of that system be free or sovereign? (we are already working hard to understand how to connect thoughts to computers, hardware-wetware interface is in the pipes… so this may be a topic with very real consequences soon enough…) regardless, I see that as the extremes- absolute freedom/ sovereignty, absolutely no freedom/ sovereignty. So again; where is the idea?

It should hinge on consent! Once humanity is technologically advanced to the point where any one of us can fudge things up for the rest (more so than currently at least) it will be incumbent on society to offer at least 2 (likely more) levels of involvement/ awareness: for those who reject the notions of cooperation little to no involvement (or access to knowledge that would enable them to be dangerous). For those who do, a mental monitor and unlimited access. The first group would have their sovereignty, but lack capability to do harm and the 2nd would have capability to do harm, but not the sovereignty to use it unilaterality. The system would be best as a dynamic, real time affair: as moods and opinions change one could move to the group that suits them best. It would maximize both freedom and safety.

Ultimately as individuals we have a level of sovereignty that will always be at odds with others, however protecting that freedom ( to a degree) is in the interest of all; it is at or close to the heart of human experience, and losing it would represent a form of oppression humanity as we know could not co-exist with. As for Spain, it may be better to show love for their sister state and courage to face the fallout than leveraging power to deny a (or any) people the freedom they deserve.


THE problem…

A bit longer and more Ranty than my normal fair, but sometimes it’s good to look at the big picture.

Ok the world is a fairly complex place, I do not believe there is a person alive who understands the complex interactions of billions of people at same time. So I believe that most of us don’t have the capacity to really understand how the world works, however I also believe that our goals as people or rather as humans are pretty much the same.  We all wish to eat we all wish to fuck we all wish to poop, please excuse vulgarity of that statement but it’s so very true.  Now I’m not advocating a hedonistic lifestyle but  I do think that there are basic human things that bind us  all together one of which is the need for food.  Another one would probably be need for water.  Taken in a vacuum I think that every person would consent to being fed and watered and clothed and cared for and at least on some level every human would agree that being fed and clothed and cared for was “good” the problem as I see it and I do see it as just one problem is mainly a problem of ignorance.  As a species we need to have a discussion on exactly which kinds of freedoms we can abide, because there some expressions of freedom that will enhance humanity as a whole and there are other expressions of freedom that will work to our detriment.  I think this is a good place for an example.  Drunk driving, I think all of us can agree that driving drunk is a problem I say that it is simply an expression of the problem.  So just as a baseline I’m sure we all know what drunk driving is but for the purposes here I will define it simply as operating a motor vehicle when the individual knows or at least in a sober state would know it is not safe to do so.  The actual source of the problem though is that carnage caused by driving drunk, not necessarily drinking and driving.  Now if I were all powerful and wish to solve this problem I could simply eliminate cars, or eliminate alcohol.  Or simply make people invincible, all of these are solutions if realized would cause the problem of drunk driving to cease to exist.  Thankfully I am not all powerful so the solutions we have to work with will have to be confined to things that humanity can accomplish.  I think history has proven fairly clearly that getting rid of alcohol or motor vehicles is simply not going to happen, so how did humanity solve this problem?  We did what humans do, we took the path of least resistance.

Drunk driving laws, function as a deterrent.  They are in place to provide incentive or motivation to not drive drunk but they do not physically prevent collisions, and here we are starting to get to my point.  The real problem of drunk driving is that there exist individuals who are willing and able to drive drunk.  And while drunken driving legislation can put a dent in the number of these individuals to exist it will never eliminate them.  Really to end drunk driving once and for all we just need all individuals to understand why it is a problem.  I argue that the majority of people arrested on drunk driving were not driving drunk with the intent to harm anybody, but rather they were driven by self interest.  So the problem of drunk driving is really an expression of THE problem, which is people not caring enough about other people.  And that can even be interpreted as people simply not thinking about their actions.  And that is THE problem.  I find it hard to believe that there exists in any significant number evil people, I’m sure there are some around but by and large they are not the problem in our society.  As I said in the beginning billions of people simultaneously interacting is an immensely complex system, but rather than try and put artificial constraints on it in a vain effort to categorize everything we should instead focus on the well-being of individuals and keep our efforts on there.  So I see no need, actually quite the contrary I think is a detriment, to have a penal system.  I think penalties or punishment however you wish to phrase it they are the lowest form of persuasion.  Further they are limited in their ability to control behavior, and eye for an eye can sustain a society, but is very far from ideal.

The idea that we should focus on individuals rather than the groups is both frightening and necessary, the history of governance has been a fairly bloody one and has seldom worked out well for most individuals, but we need an individual focus, because a better form of justice would be individual justice, and I know how ludicrous the proposition seems…  Imagine instead of a uniform code of conduct that applies to all people we instead Taylor codes of conduct two individuals as needed, assault is a violent crime, and I hardly recommend using violence at large, however I think there might be benefits to allowing certain eighty year old grandmothers to use their discretion in the matter.

Expanding on the idea of penalty, and I think I’ve spoken on this before, prisons are in general a bad idea.  Rehabilitation is an idea I’d get behind,


So problems exist in different levels, “how” is the level we’re on,” how” would be a representation of the physical.  “Why” would be an expression of level above, the precursor to the problem so to speak, if you wish to solve a problem and you do not have the time or resources to address the why you address the how, this is always and forever a temporary fix.  Until the why is understood in its entirety the problem will persist.  Now solving problems only addressing the “How” can go a long way, going back to our drunk driving example police checkpoint’s, Breathalyzers, age limits, identification requirements all these things are physical how’s to address the drunk driving problem, we have yet as a species to truly address the why of our drunk driving problem, and so while drunk driving has been reduced greatly it will continue to be a problem.

Addressing the Y

Whenever you go to answer why you leave the objective of land of physicality and enter the ethereal realm of morality.  Because the why is an explanation or rationalization of the how.  I think if you want to efficiently address the problem you need to be working in the why, because until you a fully addressed why you do not understand the problem.  To clarify you do not need to understand a problem to define it, anyone who sees the carnage of an automotive crash will know full well there is a problem, but the complete understanding is necessary to stop it from happening again.  The reason I say drunk driving laws are a “how” is because they put physical limits on drunken driving, devices in cars police on the roads physical manifestations.  But we still have drunk drivers and we will continue to have drunk drivers until we address the why, my recommendation is we stop investing almost all of our resources into postponing problems, and we invest more in to actually solving them.  There is a dichotomy here, we could install Breathalyzer the on all motor vehicles, or we can educate the entire population on why drunk driving is a problem, these are two ends of the same line.  The first way has certainty, can be done quickly, and is quite logical.  The second way does not offer as much certainty(this is only because our understanding of physics has progressed further than our understanding of our own physiology) the second way will take more time, as it will require individual attention to everybody.  However the first solution will have tremendous costs, materials, suffering, conflicts.  The second solution will instill value to the society, really the first solution treats humans as animals that must be physically controlled, the second solution treats humans as people capable of controlling their behavior.  all problems can be addressed in a similar manner, we tend to focus on the how because it is immediate and EZ.  However the why of a problem is it’s root, and much like a tree you’ll find if you start tugging on the why of one problem you will eventually get to “the” problem.